#COVID-19: Officials scramble for answers
SPOTLIGHT: A series of crucial meetings in the next few days may give a clearer picture of the full impact of the #COVID-19 cancellations.
Officials in South Africa readily admit it is “far too early” to say what the full financial impact of the loss of fixtures – and possibly tournaments – will be.
Stormers coach John Dobson said at the weekend that the suspension of the Super Rugby tournament could lead to major job losses.
“My players [ the Stormers] generally have job security concerns now and it’s not like they can go and play in Europe anymore,” Dobson said after his team’s 14-24 loss in Durban at the weekend.
“I think we’re in for a harder time than we think.”
Zelt Marais, President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, said they will be having some critical meetings this week.
“The board and executive committee will be meeting in the next day or so to discuss this [the financial implications] and other confidential, related matters,” Marais, who is also the head finance committee, told @rugby365com.
At times in life the emotive should take back seat and prioritize human interest. We pray for the countries that are currently heavily affected and we trust for healing in all affected nations and protection over our Rainbow nation as well as the rest of the world 🙏🏻 #covid19SA pic.twitter.com/3iw6pVuJxD
— Eduard Coetzee (@coetzee_eduard) March 15, 2020
Eduard Coetzee, the Chief Executive Officer at the table-topping Sharks, told this website that the full impact won’t be known for some time.
“Some things are bigger than sport,” Coetzee said in response to the decision to postpone all game for the foreseeable future.
“There are ongoing, behind the scenes, talks,” Coetzee told @rugby365com.
However, they are determined to protect the players from the stresses of the ongoing talks and will let them continue preparing as if they will be playing a game.
If the postponements are just a few weeks, the impact will be far less than if it is for several months.
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Coetzee said that generally their “income streams” are secured in contracts and they will trust that sponsors and broadcasters honour those.
However, it is the in-stadium income that will have a massive short-term impact.
“[Without games] we can’t cash in on the team’s success,” he said of a Sharks side that tops the standings with six wins in seven starts – having beaten the Bulls (23-15) in Durban, the Highlanders (42-20) in Dunedin, the Rebels (36-24) in Ballarat, the Reds (33-23) in Brisbane, the Jaguares (33-19) in Durban and the Stormers (24-14) in Durban.
The significant increase in spectators numbers would have resulted in other financial benefits.
Eugene Henning, the Chief Executive Officer the players’ trade union of MyPlayers, also said it is “too early” to know if there would be any financial impact and what the implications would be.
“We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis,” Henning said, adding: “We are planning and preparing for whichever direction the situation is heading into.”
Following a SANZAAR EXCO teleconference in response to the announcement by the New Zealand Government, SANZAAR believes it has no option but to suspend the 2020 Super Rugby tournament for the foreseeable future.
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) March 14, 2020